Soul Detox–God’s Truth

Part 33

Thank God for Trials

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12 NIV)

 Jesus Will Carry YouSometimes, I just have to vent. During times of great struggle, many well-meaning Christians tell us that God won’t send us more than we can handle. They are wrong and here’s why:

God delights to increase the faith of His children…I say, and say it deliberately – trials, difficulties and sometimes defeat, are the very food of faith…We should take them out of His hands as evidences of His love and care for us in developing more and more that faith which He is seeking to strengthen in us. ~ George Muller

Mr. Muller and I agree God sends us trials, difficulties, defeat, tragedy, even sickness to accomplish one thing—strong faith in Him. He will run us until we are run out of our own resources, our friends’ resources, our coaches’ resources, our counselors’ resources. He will run us until we are run out of ourselves and run down…until we can no longer run. That’s when we cry out to Him, exhausted and desperate. That’s when we experience His strength, His wisdom, His love, His mercy, His grace, His presence in it’s fullest. That’s what God delights in and is looking to do in each of our lives.

The quote Christians love to use to encourage one another is taken from 1 Corinthians 10:13—No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (Emphasis mine)

Please note this passage is talking about temptations. And praise God for His faithfulness in not letting us be tempted beyond what we can bear and providing a way out. But temptations are not the types of struggles God permits to strength our faith. There’s a world of difference between being tempted to sin and facing an incurable disease or financial difficulty or any other struggle beyond our control.

When things are out of control, that’s a blessing in disguise. God delights in showing His children His wondrous works, His love, and His compassion. He uses struggles to do that.

How about you? What are your struggles teaching you about God’s strength, compassion, and love?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Part 32

Thank God for Differences

There are differences…but the same Lord. (1 Corinthians 12:5)

Differences—what a broad topic! There are differences in facial features, hair color and texture, skin tones, body shapes, and voices. There are differences of opinion, creeds, and doctrine.

There are variables of trees, grass, flowers, fruits, and vegetables…birds in the sky and fish in the sea and everything in between.

???????????????????????????????God loves differences. He created a multifaceted universe to hold His diverse specimens of life. And He saw that it was good!

Unfortunately, people don’t seem to share their Creator’s appreciation for differences. Sure, we like variety in nature. We even admire the physical differences of others. But, we try to change those around us to reflect our views and live by our standards. We even attempt to mold God into our likeness. That’ll never happen. There’s too little of us to contain the vastness of God. And He never intended for us to think and act alike exactly alike. He wants us to understand that differences of opinion make us think and grow in understanding of our world and our beliefs. The cultural differences add intrigue and beauty to our communities. God wants us to grasp how differences in all areas of life color our world.

How about you? What differences do you need to reevaluate?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Part 31

Finding Contentment in a Broke Economy

 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. (Philippians 4:12 NIV)

???????????????????????????????

Last Saturday, my daughters and I got together to celebrate the younger daughter’s birthday. Melinda and I wanted to do something special for Rachel, but because of today’s economy, we’re all pinching pennies. So we decided to have a beauty spa in Rachel’s house. With a wave of a comb and scissors, I turned her kitchen into a hair parlor. I twirled in a circle until I transformed into a stylist. An hour or so later, my daughters felt like princesses with their new layered look.

Next, Melinda converted the living room into a nail spa. We laughed and watched Rachel’s little children play while Melinda did her magic with our fingertips…red and yellow swirls like autumn leaves.

We had so much fun, we never did get around to the facials we had planned. What we lacked in greenbacks, we made up for in love and laughter…a delightfully simple way to find contentment in our circumstances.

While my daughters and I discovered a way to entertain and pamper one another for one day, we struggle with the everyday demands of our culture. It’s easy to fall into the trap of discontentment. Advertisements insist the latest style is necessary for success. Technology changes so drastically and quickly even our computers and cell phones can’t keep up. We HAVE TO HAVE the newest technical devices to stay in touch with family and friends.

Big Sigh!!!

As I stated earlier, we’re all feeling the effects of the current state of the economy. Purchasing every little thing our hearts desire wouldn’t be wise, especially if it increased our indebtedness. However, we’re learning the secret to contentment in all things—instead of fretting about what we don’t have, we’re concentrating on what we have, which is still a lot more than most. We’re learning to not only say we’re thankful for all our possessions, but to truly appreciate all we have.

Yet while we’re holding our possessions closer to our hearts, we’re learning to let go of them. You see, these things can all be taken away in an instant. And if they are, then what? Panic? Depression? Discontentment?

I hope not.

I hope we, like Paul, have learned to find contentment not in any earthly possession, but in Jesus Christ our Lord.

How about you? How do you find contentment in this broken economy?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Part 30

Powerless

For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? (Luke 11:6 KJV)

Super Hero 2Years ago (pre-cordless and cell phones days), a car broke down in front of my house. The driver knocked on the door, seeking assistance. I was clueless as to how to change a flat tire and didn’t like opening the door to a stranger to use my phone. So I did the only thing in my power to do—I assured him, through the closed storm door, that I’d call the mechanic at the other end of town. In minutes, help arrived and all was well in the neighborhood.

Many situations in life throw me into a powerless mode. I often have no knowledge or means to help those who come to me for assistance. Some requests are as simple as a call from one of my daughters asking for advice on cooking. To them I say, “Call your dad. He’s the cook in our family, you know?” Other pleas are serious like the loss of a job, terminal illness, or death. Devastation requires more comfort, more healing than I am capable of giving. As much as I want to “fix” the problem and make my loved ones happy again, I am powerless to do so. A super heroine, I’m not.

But I have a friend who can supply all our needs. He not only has the answer, He is the answer. It’s my weakness…my powerlessness that sends me to Jesus on the behalf of those I care about.

If I could’ve changed the stranger’s tire, I wouldn’t have called the mechanic. If I’d known the recipe my daughter wanted, I wouldn’t have told her to ask her dad. Likewise, if I had the ability to comfort and heal another’s crushed heart and put his/her shattered life back together, I wouldn’t run to Jesus for help.

Paul understood this concept. He wrote about it in his second letter to the Corinthians: But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I [Paul] will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me! (2 Corinthians 12:9 AMP).

How about you? To whom do you run in times of trouble?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Part 29

Got Help?

Rise up and help us; rescue us because of your unfailing love. (Psalm 44:26)

Sydney Painting“Need help?” I asked my four-year-old granddaughter as she splashed paint on a ceramic Christmas ornament.

“No, thanks. I can do it myself.” She scrunched her face and stuck her tongue out of the corner of her mouth just like her mother used to do and continued with the task at hand.

Aw yes, those assertive years of independence and self-confidence have immerged. Not that independence and self-confidence are bad things to acquire in our youth…unless of course, we develop them into arrogance and pride, which we all have done to some degree.

I’m guilty. Recently, I complained in a Facebook post about not being able to preset the time and date of my posts. A friend suggested I contact Facebook help. Can you imagine? Go to the help page when you’re having issues with a site’s services. It’s unheard of…at least, in my frame of mind. Those assistance pages are for the technically challenged. Not for me! When it comes to technology, I know enough to be precarious. I spend hours on a technical issue, pressing buttons and going places on the computer I shouldn’t risk going to rather than seeking help from the experts. Sometimes I succeed. Sometimes I restore my computer to a date when it actually worked.

I’m not alone in this boat. And technology isn’t the only place we tend to hold on to our independence and self-confidence.

I’m setting in the corridor at a pain clinic as I type this. Dozens of people have walked past me. Some struggle with each painstaking step. Some steady themselves with canes or walkers. Still others maneuver wheelchairs to get to their destinations. All have one thing in common, at some point they had to admit to their disability and seek help.

Seeking help seems to go against our human survivor instincts or something. It just isn’t easy to admit we can’t do everything ourselves. That independent core runs deep, not only in the physical, but in the spiritual aspect as well.

We work hard. We give to the poor. We literally pour out our lives helping others in an effort to please God and bridge the gap between here and heaven. But we refuse to accept the one thing that actually accomplishes the task—we need help. We’re sinners. We cannot approach the Holy God dressed in our soiled, tattered garments, let alone please Him. We don’t even have the ability to open the door. We need the One who holds the key. We need Him to cleanse us and wrap His righteousness around us. We need to put away our pride, arrogance, independence, and self-confidence and ask for help.

How about you? Have you asked Jesus to do for you what you cannot possibly do for yourself?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Part 28

Talents—Use Them or Hide Them

And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.  (Matthew 25:15 KJV)

240001Part of the evidence that we are created in God’s imagine is our imagination and creativity. These components unite to form our talents. Now, scholars translate the talents in Jesus’ parable to mean money. While Jesus may have said money, I doubt that money was His sole intent. Whatever we have belongs to God. Since it belongs to God, we are responsible for its use. Our money, our talents and abilities, our thoughts, our time…every part of our being is for God’s glory and use. And He will judge us according to how we’ve handled all that He has given us.

The question remains: are we hiding our talents or investing them to bring God glory and further His kingdom?

There are ways of hiding our talents and deceiving ourselves into thinking that we are investing them. For example: I think I have a talent for writing. I write stories, devotions, novels, and a couple blogs. Now, if I write and write and write but keep all those manuscripts locked away in a drawer or on my computer, it’s clear I’m hiding my talent. What if I blog or manage to publish an article or book and never tell anyone, isn’t that hiding my talent as well?

I’m using writing here because it’s something I do. But we can substitute any gift really. Perhaps you possess a great talent for crocheting or knitting. You spend all your free time working on your craft and have accumulated boxes upon boxes of beautiful sweaters and afghans that have never been used. Suppose you have the gift of hospitality and never open your home to strangers. Or you acquired the ability to encourage others, but stay at home alone, never send cards, or make phone calls.

Our abilities are only valuable when shared. By God’s design, we are a body, and we function properly through the contribute all of our talents.

How about you? What’s your talent? How are you using it to benefit others and to glorify God?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Part 27

Following our Appetites

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way… (Isaiah 53:6a)

??????????Sheep are notorious for getting lost. They follow their appetites to greener pastures but have no sense of direction to find their way back home.

If I followed my appetite, it would lead me straight to the local bakery. This past weekend proved that I’d have trouble finding my way back home too. I over indulged…big time…not just one day, but the entire weekend. And today, I’m paying the price—borderline migraine. Pardon me, while I go take something to ward it off. This “hangover” is nothing new. I know my system can only handle so much sugar before it punishes me for the overload. Nevertheless when it comes to sweets, I’m as dumb as a sheep.

But wait! I’m not alone in this flock. The Bible says we are all like sheep, every single one of us. We follow our hearts’ desires whether those cravings are healthy or not. Our appetites lead us to immorality and substance abuse, not to mention materialism, idolatry, and pride.

It all started with Eve.

She followed her appetite, and look where that got her and Adam. It wasn’t her hunger for the forbidden fruit by the way. It was her appetite for knowledge, to better herself… to be like God. When you get right down to the core of the matter, Eve wanted to live life her way. Satan would not have been able to tempt her so easily, if she hadn’t already been seeking something better.  Eve wandering into, what seemed to her, greener pastures. And human beings have struggled to find their way back ever since.

Thankfully, we have a Good Shepherd who searches for His lost sheep and brings them home, if they are willing to follow Him when He calls.

How about you? Into what kind of pastures have you followed your appetite?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Part 26

Through this Vast Wilderness

The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything. (Deuteronomy 2:7)

In the SpotlightLike the Hebrews in Moses’ day, the United States of America as a whole has rebelled against God. And He has pronounced judgment against us. The current economic condition of our country has forced many Americans into a financial wilderness. Although some us traveling this road have not turned our backs on God, we have been caught in the current just the same. With each step, the way becomes more uncertain. We cry, murmur, and complain as we wander aimlessly from payment to payment, hoping somehow all our bills will be paid this month. We worry about what’s beyond the horizon. And we pray, “Lord, please deliver me from this fate. Please don’t let this be my ruin.”

Is God unmerciful and unable to sustain us?

The Hebrews doubted God’s ability to give them the Promised Land even after His mighty miracles that delivered them from the hands of the Egyptians. They rebelled. He pronounced judgment.

Although they roamed through the wilderness forty years like vagabonds, God never left them. He provided food, protection from the elements, and water. When they complained about having no meat, He gave them quail. Their clothes never grew threadbare. I can’t imagine wearing the same sandals for forty years—think about all the walking they did. Yet, their sandals showed no signs of wear. God even supplied them with silver to pay the inhabitants of Seir for the food and water the Hebrews used while traveling through the country.

Yes, God was angry with His people. Yes, He chastised them for their stubborn rebellion. But He never deserted them. He never ignored their cries. He never expected them to go it alone.

God is merciful. He loves His people. He provides for those He loves. He will do…is doing the same for us as He did for the Hebrews.

How about you? Are you wandering through a financial wasteland…an emotional frontier…a spiritual  state of disfavor? How has God watched over your journey through this vast wilderness?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Part 25

Formulas and Potions

 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matthew 6:6)

Lacy BohnesPrincess Lacy Bohnes wanted what she wanted when she wanted it. She squawked about every little thing and rarely thanked anyone for kindnesses shown to her. Queen Akee Bohnes hired nannies, jesters, and playmates to entertain Lacy with every form of toy and game available in the kingdom that the king allowed. But the very fact that the king only permitted what he thought best for the child, made the girl all the naughtier .

Eventually, word about the blight of the princess reached the ears of Miss Dee Meanour, the witch who lived deep in a far away forest. She rushed to the palace. Thumping the doorknocker hard against the stopper, she waited and schemed. Finally the door screeched open.

A lanky man looked down his crooked nose and asked in a very staunch sort of way, “How may I be of service to you, ma’am?”

Miss Dee pushed her way past the stuffed shirt and shuffled into the parlor, eyeing every nook and cranny. “I’m here to speak with the queen about her daughter.”

“Are you the new nanny?” The butler grabbed her elbow, halting her. “We are in dire need of a new nanny, but I wasn’t expecting you today. Please, come with me.”

The man ushered the witch to Princess Lacy’s quarters where Queen Akee sat on the floor—her dress tattered and hair in an upheaval. The child stood with arms folded and her tiny face twisted in a defiant knot. Broken toys cluttered the room.

Miss Dee approached the queen with a curtsy and gripping her arm, helped her to her feet. “I’ll take over from here,” said the witch with a wry smile.

Queen Akee nodded. The butler clasped her elbow and ushered her out of the room. Miss Dee followed them to the door, closed it behind them, and locked it. She turned and glared at the princess.

“So,” said the witch, “you want what you want when your want it even if the king says it’s not the best for you.”

“Yes,” Princess Lacy said unyieldingly.

Miss Dee smiled. “I can help with that.”

“You can?” The princess let down her guard and smiled back. “How?”

“I have a potion and a formula…but you must follow the instructions with great care. If you miss a step or put them in the wrong order, you will surely lose all that you have and never gain a single thing from the king. Come I will teach the ways of the request.”

*****

Like the little princess, Christians everywhere seek the knowledge of approaching the King to get what they want when they want it. Not all have selfish motives. They simply want to connect with God. Unfortunately, they fall easily into the devil’s hands when they assume God requires a special procedure or certain words.

A few weeks ago, I witnessed a pastor sincerely attempt to anoint my mother for her ailments. The pastor fumbled through her little book of instructions, apologizing about this being only the second time she had been called upon to anoint the sick. She wanted to get it right. Should she pray or dab the oil on my mother’s forehead first? When was the proper time to read the suggested Bible verses? I respect the fact that she wanted to do it right. But there is so much more to prayer then the method used.

When Jesus taught His disciples about prayer, He gave them some guidelines: acknowledge who the Father is and what He does for us, confess our temptations and sins as well as our need for His help and forgiveness. We are to approach God with a humble, contrite heart, believing that He cares and will answer with what is best for us. That’s it! No special procedure. No certain words. Just faith and sincerity.

How about you? Do you talk to God relationally—Father-child; Friend to friend?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Part 24

Pirate Princess

For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. (Matthew 7:8)

Pirate Princess 2“Pap, you be the captain and drive the ship,” Sydney Rose commanded. “Bee, you’re the first mate.”

“Aye, aye!” My husband and I agreed.

“And who might you be, matey?” I asked the child swinging the plastic sword.

“I’m the pirate princess, of course.”

“Of course.” I smiled.

As we set sail over the Living Room Sea, a storm tossed us from sofa to chair to loveseat. About the time we thought all was lost, Sydney announced, “We’ve landed on the island. Let’s dig for treasure.”

We made good use of our imaginary shovels and soon struck the top of a treasure chest containing a necklace with diamonds for the princess, a necklace with rubies for the first mate, and an iPod for the captain. A great day for the crew, but a pirate’s work is never done. Off we sailed for the next island and the next treasure.

Like imaginative children, we sometimes sail through the Bible, dig up verses that seem to promise prosperity, and claim all the wealth this world has to offer as though it were God’s intentions. We run the risk of treating God’s promises like a pirate’s treasure when we pick verses like Matthew 7:8 and  demand God complies to our every whim.

That philosophy only exists in our minds. Realty doesn’t work that way and neither does God’s word. Search the Scriptures. Find the apostle who sought worldly treasures after Pentecost through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. He doesn’t exist. Even through their trials and sufferings, the believers never prayed for wealth or even their own wellbeing. They prayed for the welfare of the needy and for the lost sinners to be saved. They went about healing the sick, casting out demons, and preaching the true gospel of Jesus Christ who taught them by His life and actions that in this world, we will have trouble. However through faithfulness to the Father, we will overcome.

God’s promises are more about enabling us to endure, grow, and become Christlike than about a guaranteed particular result.

Ask for what delights God, and you will be delighted. Seek what pleases God, and you will find pleasure. Knock on the door of righteousness, and it will open for you. These are the promises of God, which often bring hardships on this earth, but will store up treasures for us in heaven.

How about you? What treasures are you seeking?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Part 23

Connections

The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

SistersAn only child for four and a half years, my older daughter Melinda entertained imaginary playmates. A dozen or more of her “friends” lived under our kitchen table. They all had names and personalities. One “companion” in particular was a troublemaker who caused my perfect little daughter to do naughty things she never would’ve thought of on her own. <wink>

Cause for concern? Not really. She merely had expressed her need to connect with other people. No other children lived close by with whom she could play. She compensated well. However when our younger daughter entered our family circle, Melinda’s imaginary playmates slowly disappeared. Rachel fulfilled her big sister’s need for companionship.

Part of the human condition is our need for others…to be connected, to be loved, and to love. Our first experience with this need is our family—mother, father, and siblings. As we grow, our awareness and connections branch out to include grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. Puberty brings a longing for a new type of connection—a need for acceptance and love from a mate—hopefully, a life-long relationship. This need becomes an almost uncontrollable force in our lives…one that often confuses hormonal changes with love and seeks satisfaction, which can result in wrong choices.

At the same time, another force, just as potent as hormones, surfaces. Our spirits cry out for a relationship, a deeper revelation, a connection with the source of their existence. Lack of experience and discernment often obscures the truth, causing us to seek satisfaction in false entities that offer little hope or comfort to the thirsty soul. We crave more. We wander deeper into forbidden territory. Our spirits continue to seek fulfillment. We find ourselves entangled in a web of confusion and desperation from which we have no power to free ourselves.

Jesus the Son of ManGod designed our spirits within us to seek and find their creator. The only entity that can satisfy our souls is not in a higher power or in our higher power, but The Higher Power—Jesus Christ. He is the one for which our spirits long.

How about you? Are you connected to Jesus Christ in an eternal relationship?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Part 22

In the Sandbox

 Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action), So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 AMP)

Sandcastle 1I built a sandcastle in the box.

“That’s nice,” said a girl. “Can I help you make it spiffy?” I nodded. She added a block, then two more and frowned.

“That’s not right,” she wailed and kicked the castle into a heap. She ran behind the bushes, joining her friends in a merry giggle.

I shrugged and rebuilt my castle.

The girl returned, “I’m sorry I knocked your other castle down. This one sure is spiffy. Can I add some pizzazz.” Glad she wanted to try again, I patted the sand beside me, welcoming her suggestions. She gently carved scallops around the roof. I admired her artisanship and nodded my approval. She smiled, jumped to her feet, and with one mighty leap, squashed the castle. She rushed to her friends behind the bush. Giggles filled the air.

I brushed a tear away and returned to castle building. It was spiffy with lots of pizzazz. Upon completion, the girl joined me again. I permitted her help. She added details and, just like the other times, destroyed the castle.

This sequence continued not only throughout the afternoon, but throughout the summer. Some friends said I was foolish in allowing it to go on as I did. They thought I should have defended my castle, myself. Ah, but my friends hadn’t taken into consideration the benefits of the experience. Even though that girl’s shenanigans hurt my feelings, I learned the craft of castle building.

Sandcastle 2Often Christian life resembles sandbox experiences. We work hard. Someone knocks our efforts, using Scripture to back their actions. We take the advice and build on it. God sends others with more correction more knocks. We plunk away at our conformity to God’s will. At times, we get discouraged and threaten to quit. But we hang in there, learning and growing. As we mature, we discover that each blow to our ego profited us and equipped us to do every good work.

How about you? What lessons are you learning through the “kicking down of your sandcastles?”

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Part 21

Trust

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. (Psalm 143:8)

???????????????Hopping on the back of a motorcycle requires a huge amount of trust. Each time I do so, I relinquish control of my life and place it in my husband’s capable hands. He chooses the direction in which to travel, the speed, and when to stop. Did I mention, although my seat is higher than my husband’s, I cannot see over his head? So I can’t see what’s ahead or where we’re going. I can only see where we’re at and what we’ve past.

On occasion, he asks me which way to go. I usually answer, “You go. I’ll follow.” I even wear my sunglasses after dark. I don’t need to see. All I have to do is hang on and enjoy the ride.

That’s not all together true. I have some responsibility like moving with Gene. If he leans to the left, I had better not lean to the right. Going against the driver can cause a terrible upset. I have to sit relatively still and signal my husband by placing my hands on his shoulders if I need to adjust my position. And I never ever want to do so while approaching a curve in the road.

Placing our trust in God is very similar to riding on the back of a motorcycle. In essence, we relinquish control of our lives to His capable hands. We have no say in which direction our lives take, or how fast we move from one situation to another. We definitely can’t see over His head no matter how lofty we are. We may have an idea where we’re going, but we can only actually see where we are and where we’ve been. On occasion, God gives us choices. But our best response is “You lead. I’ll follow.” Or as David wrote, “Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.”

However, we’re not just going along for the ride. We have responsibilities and need to remain focused on God’s leading. If we drag our feet or lean the wrong way, we can end up in unnecessary turmoil and slow the process.

God doesn’t mind if we need to take a break or adjust our positions. We only need to signal our intentions and/or needs by confessing them to Him. He understands our human frailty. He delights in meeting our needs. The more we trust Him, the more enjoyable life becomes.

How about you? In what areas have you relinquished complete control to God? Where have you been leaning the wrong way?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Soul Detox Thought for Today:

 Worry shows where you lack trust in God. Don’t be ashamed about this. God is showing you where His strength lies. He will help you build up your trust.

Part 20

Our Sunday Best

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul will exult in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. (Isaiah 61:10 AMP)

Princess Bride 2The other day my husband and I met our pastor and his wife in the local Wal-Mart. Seeing them in tee shirts and shorts seemed a little odd. Not that it was a bad thing. We just become accustomed to seeing certain people, like our pastors and their wives, in particular settings and dressed accordingly.

While preparing for Sunday school a couple days later, I thought about my own appearance at the store…caprices, tee shirt, hair pulled back, and no makeup. It occurred to me that I probably had looked as peculiar to our pastor and his wife as they had looked to me. In our culture, few people wear their Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes to fast food restaurants and department stores.

Physical appearance isn’t the only aspect of our “Sunday best” that suffers on the outside of the church walls. Words stifled on Sunday morning flow loud and clear in the workplace. Attitudes of gratitude shift to grab and growl. Acceptance gives way to rejection.  It sure doesn’t take long to strip off our cloaks of righteousness and slip into human nature.

More often than I care to admit, I hang my attitude of gratitude in the closet right next to my Sunday dress and spend the week in my “scrubbies.” Remembering I’m a child of the King of kings helps me to put off that old, grungy nature and put on the fresh garments of righteousness Jesus offers me every day.

How about you? Are you wearing your crown today?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Part 19

A Sheltered Life

Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal. (Isaiah 26:4)

Trusting PrincessKings take every humanly-possible precaution to protect their offspring. Guards surround the premises. Security accompanies the princes and princesses everywhere they go. A moat and an impenetrable wall encompass the grounds. Talk about sheltered lives, these children live   free from worry of enemy invasion because they trust their father’s ability to provide a safe environment.

In safe environments and loving homes, children, from pauper to princess, give little regard to food, living quarters, or danger of assault. They simply trust their parents/guardians to provide those things for them and go about their days in playful wonder of the world around them. If something frightens them, they run to their father who embraces them with strong, capable arms. When their tummies growl from hunger, they call to their mothers who loving prepare their meals. If they scrape knees, they know one of their parents will pick them up and bandage their wounds. Children trust because their parents provide all that’s needy for them.

Children of God learn to trust Him in much the same way. Although pain and suffering affect our lives, our Father helps us and heals our infirmities. The enemy may attack from all angles, but we need not fear for God has placed His guards around us. He has provided food, shelter, and all that’s needy for us to live virtually carefree.

Four-year-old Sydney summed it up in her simple, but profound prayer: “God is good. God loves us. God loves us so much, we trust Him. Amen.”

How about you? Who are you trusting these days?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Part 18

To Served to Serve

Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. (Mark 10:43 NIV)

Pauper to Princess

Pauper to Princess

Most of us have preconceived notions of the lives and times of royalty. We see the glimmer and glory, the maids and butlers, the groundskeepers, and chauffeurs; and we fantasize about having every menial task done for us. However, do we consider the awesome responsibility that accompanies such status?

Although many aristocrats take advantage of their position, truly noble princes and princesses strive for the good of their fellow citizens. While their servants maintain the palace, the royal family executes law and order, establishes programs for the benefit of the people, and formulates military strategies for the protection of their boundaries. They, in essence, become the servants of the kingdom.

Likewise, a servant’s heart marks true princes and princesses of God’s kingdom. We thrive on placing the needs of others ahead of our own desires and comforts.

Or do we? Sometimes it’s difficult to see the needs of others, let alone give sacrificially to meet those needs. Yet, scratching beneath the surface of our communities opens opportunities of service. No region exists without people who require assistance of some kind. God has placed us in our areas of residence for this purpose: to offer aide to those who lack the ability to help themselves. Some of us have special talents and training that enables us to perform tasks others cannot do. Nevertheless, we all have something to share and the know-how to share it.

Jesus is our ultimate example of servant. Although He is the King of kings and Lord of lords, He came NOT demanding to be served, but to serve.

How about you? How have you served others today?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Part 17

Conduct Yourself Like Royalty

And whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus and in [dependence upon] His Person, giving praise to God the Father through Him. (Colossians 3:17 Amp)

Princess ColoredHave you ever noticed people of royalty conduct themselves differently than commoners and paupers? From their crossed ankles while sitting, to their extended pinkies while drinking, to their squared shoulders while standing, to their pursed lips while speaking, they exemplify a standard for which the rest of us should strive.

This standard is acquired not inherited. Training begins in early childhood and continues through adolescence. Day and night young princes and princesses receive instruction and practice proper behavior until all requirements become second nature to them. By the time they make their debut as adults, they are well prepared to carry out their position in society.

As children of God, we, too, must conduct ourselves in a manner that brings honor to our Father and King. He has been very specific in His requirements:

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. … you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices (Colossians 3:5, 8, 9 NIV).

There should be a noticeable difference between our behavior and the world’s actions. God changes us when He adopts us into His kingdom. We become new in our awareness of our sins and our desires toward them change. We put on new garments the scriptures call them the righteousness of Christ. And we begin to act differently. Like princes and princesses of earthly kingdoms, we need training and practice. Although it takes a lifetime to acquired Christlike behavior, a distinct characteristic separates us from the rest of the world.

How about you? What do other’s see when they look at you? Do they see a difference in the way you act and react compared to those who belong to the world?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Part 16

Because I’m a Princess

The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (Romans 8:16-17 NIV)

PrincessMy four-year-old granddaughter Sydney loves to pretend she’s a princess as do most little girls. Occasionally, Sydney puts on the full attire—long flowing gown, plastic tiara, and scepter—to aid in her playacting. But most of the time, she prances around the house, wearing her regular clothes and the tiara, of course. However, even without the crown, she has no problems spouting out orders that end with, “because I’m a princess.”

Recently, I’ve been pondering the phrase “because I’m a princess.” I am, you know. And you are royalty too, if you’re a follower of Christ, according to the above verse. Wow! That means we have benefits and privileges that others don’t have.

  1. We live in mansions. Okay so my earthly tent is a small ranch-style, in a small town. But that’s temporary. Someday, I’ll walk on streets paved with gold, eat from a tree that bears different kinds of fruit; and best of all, I’ll sit next to Jesus and see Father in all His glory.
  2. Guardian AngelWe have bodyguards. Some call them angels. But they are mighty and fierce ready for battle. They never sleep or go off duty. We’re protected day and night.
  3. We have the best Tutor available. His name is Holy Spirit. He teaches us Father’s ways and reminds us of Jesus’ teachings. He interprets Father’s word so we can clearly understand and obey. He guides in paths of righteousness and shows us ways to help others, which brings honor and glory to Father. Holy Spirit, also, protects us from the enemy and has placed His seal, like a tiara, upon our heads as a guarantee that we will enter into Father’s kingdom.
  4. We have the right to make our requests known to Father. He answers each petition with our best interest at heart because He loves us with an everlasting love. Nothing is too big or too small to ask of Him.
  5. We have the privilege to intercede for others.
  6. We have the assurance that no one, including the enemy, can snatch us away from Father. He keeps us in the palm of His hand.
  7. We are never alone. Jesus is always with us no matter where we go…He is there.

How about you? What are some of the benefits you have experienced as a child of God?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Part 15

Beyond What I Can Bear

  No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.  (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Beyond What I Can Bear“God won’t give you more than you can bear,” a well-meaning friend said when I was in the depths of depression.

“He already has.” I seriously thought I was losing my mind. God seemed so distant. The trial was more than I could handle for sure. My friend’s words only served to pile guilt on top of the pain. I felt I must have been doing something wrong —lacking faith, unconfessed sin—something. I couldn’t figure out what; but I was totally broken, and those words only sent me deeper into the pit of despair.

After doing a lot of research and soul detox, I discovered my friend, like many other Christians, misquote that verse. Take a close look at First Corinthians 10:13. It’s talking about temptations, not tribulations, not suffering, not depression…TEMPTATIONS.

What I learned about trials, tribulation, and suffering:

  1. Hardships come and ARE often more than I can bear
  2. Calamities cause me to lean on God and not on my own understanding
  3. Like the apostle Paul, when I am weak then I am strong
  4. My faith is strengthened through difficult circumstances
  5. God delights in showing me His glory in and through trials

Whether experienced through the hand of the enemy, another person, or my own mistakes, suffering serves a God-intended purpose. My loving heavenly Father teaches me to let go and admit my inability to handle life without Him. His complete and perfect will for us to trust Him without hesitation in ALL things. He accomplishes His will in us by permitting situations in our lives, which are more than we can bear.

If we’re not FULLY relying of God, we’re not relying on Him at all.

How about you? How has God taught you to fully rely on Him?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Part 14

Faith that Heals

She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.” (Matthew 9:21)

If Only 2The woman had been sick for more years than she cared to remember. Her illness barred her from social activities including worship. No one touched her, not out of fear of contracting her illness, but the law strictly prohibited physical contact with women with an issue of blood. Her husband had divorced her years ago because of it. She hadn’t blamed him. Men had needs…needs she was unable to fulfill. But he showed her mercy in his departure and left her with a generous sum of money—not required by law. With it, she sought cures, which only served to line doctors’ pockets with her last cent.

Recently, news of a miracle man buzzed through her village. According to the gossip, he had healed all types of diseases, restored sight to the blind…hearing to the deaf, cast out demons, and even brought people back from the dead. Most interesting of all, he charged no fee. The news ignited a small spark of hope within her. Something she had lost, long before she had spent her last shilling.

On the day of the miracle man’s arrival, she draped her shawl around her head and joined the crowd. It offered a type of camouflage. Surely, no one would notice her. Men and women pushed and shoved, forcing her toward the man. If they only knew of her issue, they’d clear a path to avoid contact with her. It made no difference now. This was her last attempt at being cured. He had helped so many others. Could he, would her be her answer? The hope burned within her as the buzz of the crowd increased.

“I knew Bartimaeus as a child,” one man said. “Blind since birth, but now he sees as well as you and me.”

“My brother helped to lower his paralyzed friend through a roof on a building were the miracle man was healing many people,” a man with a crutch said. “After his encounter with the preacher, the  palsied man picked up his mat and walked out cured. I pray I’ll receive the same.”

“My cousin from another village knows three men who had leprosy,” another man said. “They were healed along with seven others.”

Ten lepers healed. Hope burst into her like a bonfire. What he had done for others, he’d surely do for her.

She moved forward, sensing the miracle man’s presence and power. Turn back before he notices you, a voice cried from within. The crowed constrained her on all sides. He can heal. Press on, she reassured herself. He helped others. He will help me. She caught a glimpse of his face—pleasant, calm, loving. Painfully aware of her unworthiness, she crouched and inched her way closer, stretching to touch the hem of his garment.

Energy, like a bolt of lightning, surged from her fingertips to her toes. She trembled and sat clutching her knees. What had she done? What had HE done? Her body felt strong—full of life. She was healed. She was healed! SHE WAS HEALED!

How about you? What would it take for you to be healed?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Part 13

Forgiving God

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11)

Unexpected 4 webTo many Christians, forgiving God is an unheard-of concept. God doesn’t need forgiveness…He does everything right and purposefully. And that’s the truth. He does. So how is it that we have to forgive Him?

I had never thought about forgiving our heavenly Father. I didn’t even know I had an anger issue with Him, until I attended a retreat several years ago.

The first evening, we broke into circles. I felt out of place. I had gone only to support my friend, who, by the way, had been placed in another group. We were instructed to forgive the person who had caused the wounds of our hearts. Even if the offender was dead, we had to forgive. A few people confessed they were angry with God for allowing their trials. These people were encouraged to forgive God. I felt relieved, no proud, that I had never gotten angry with the Father.

The next morning, we had the opportunity to sign up for a one-on-one consultation. I sensed God tugging at my heart. Of course, I argued with Him. Surely, He didn’t want me to take up a counselor’s precious time. I was there to support my friend, remember? But I had no peace about the matter until I signed my name on the list.

Later that morning, the counselor led me to a room with murals of children playing at Jesus’ feet and a rocking chair in the center of the floor. The counselor had no idea what I needed to talk about…nor did I until we entered the nursery. As I sat in the rocking chair, I cradled my babies in my imagination. God had blessed me with two beautiful daughters…both with birth defects.

Although God had comforted us and sustained us through the struggles we’d faced as a family while they were growing up, I held Him accountable. He formed them in my womb. Why did He choose to give them abnormalities? God could’ve healed them when we asked. Yes, I had harbored resentment and anger toward Him for nineteen years and didn’t realize it.

God had plans for my daughters. He used their struggles to develop them into beautiful, caring, compassionate women. Still, I had to forgive Him for His methods.

This is what I’ve learned:

  1. It’s okay to be angry with God
  2. Confess your anger, disappointment, resentment to Him. Our Heavenly Father is a great big God; He can handle it (He already knows)
  3. He won’t get angry, disappointed, or resentful back
  4. He will give you grace, mercy, love, peace, and comfort as He lifts the burden from your shoulders
  5. The strain that we put on our relationship with Him subsides, while our faith strengthens

God does all things right. But if we don’t work through our anger, disappointment, and resentment toward Him when trials hit, our relationship with Him will suffer.

How about you? Are you angry with God because of a storm you went through? Maybe it was years ago, and you thought you were over it. Maybe God wants you to look deep inside and forgive Him.

See you in a twinkling

Brenda K. Hendricks

Part 12

Self-Forgiveness

But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression. (Psalms 19:12-13)

Self ForgivenessOne of my dear friends suffered from cancer for several years before she won the victory through death. As her condition worsened, the slightest touch caused her severe pain. I knew this, yet, in my zeal to show affection, I attempted to massage her shoulders.

She tenderly looked up at me and said, “Please stop.”

I knew I had hurt her. The memory of it still sends a jolt of regret into my heart. She was such a caring, loving person. I was, on the other hand, thoughtless. Yes, my intentions were pure. I often massage people’s shoulders as a gesture of goodwill. And most often, it is received with gratitude. But I could not excuse my actions when it caused this special person pain. Although I’m very sure my friend never gave it a second thought, I struggled for a long time to forgive my mindless deed.

I am the most difficult person I have to forgive. My inconsiderateness and sinfulness grieve me deeply, causing me to lament. And I don’t let myself off the hook easily.

Here are some things I’m learning to do in the process of self forgiveness:

  1. Allow myself the freedom of being human. Humans error and sin by nature. It is Christ in us that guides us and helps us overcome our human nature. As the apostle Paul stated to the Romans, “For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.” (Romans 7:22-23). This, by no means, condones sin or even inconsiderateness. However, it gives room for forgiveness.
  2. Accept forgiveness. If those we’ve offended have forgiven us and God has, we can and must forgive ourselves. Here lies a key to an unforgiving heart—if we refuse self-forgiveness, we’ll also struggle with forgiving others.
  3. Remember who the accuser is. It’s not God. It’s not even those we’ve offended. It’s the enemy of Christ. Satan continuously brings up the past to hinder our witness and to rob us of our peace and joy.
  4. Rebuke the devil, and he’ll pack up his accusations and leave the premises.
  5. Believe God’s promise to help in times of need.

God is faithful. He wants us to live a full and happy life. He wants us to forgive ourselves.

How about you? Do you struggle with self-forgiveness? How are you combating it?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Part 11

Forgiving Unconditionally

So shall you say to Joseph: Forgive (take up and away all resentment and all claim to requital concerning), I pray you now, the trespass of your brothers and their sin, for they did evil to you. Now, we pray you, forgive the trespass of the servants of your father’s God. And Joseph wept when they spoke thus to him. (Genesis 50:17 AMP)

Man and womanHave you ever said you’ve forgiven, but—? I have. However, I am learning when I add the word “but” I still harbor some resentment. I continue to desire requital—payment or punishment of some kind.

For a long time, I struggled with forgiving people who seemed too unconcerned about offending me to ask for forgiveness. It never occurred to me that they could be unaware that they hurt my feelings. Although I said I had forgiven, deep in my heart, I refused total pardon unless they acknowledged the problem and asked for forgiveness.

I caught myself at the edge of an emotional cliff ready to embrace the spirit of vengeance. No, I wasn’t going to “do” something to get even. But I hoped something happened to open their eyes to my pain…to myself or to them. It didn’t matter. I wanted them to feel my pain one way or the other. At that point, God opened my eyes to His word.

Matthew 18:15-17

  • Go to the one who has offended you and tell them the about it
  • If the individual won’t listen, take one or two witnesses to establish the truth
  • If a situation has not been resolved, take it the church
  • If the offender still refuses reconciliation, treat him/her as you would a mere acquaintance.

I followed the course set before me with anticipation of restoring the relationship. Unfortunately, it produced more strife between us. While the pain sank deeper, I realized I had to learn to forgive even when the offender denies the offense.

I still lack the deep, soul-detoxing forgiveness of others, which matches the forgiveness that God has given me. Yet, I sense God working on me. As I practice the lessons learned, He cleanses me and instills in me the ability to forgive—unconditionally.

How about you? What are you doing to master the deep, soul-detoxing forgiveness of others?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Part 10

Offense—Take It or Leave It

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:13 NIV)

Man and Woman 4 WebLet’s face it—offenses happen. And some of us are more easily offended than others are.

But what do the not-so-easily-offended people have that the rest of us seem to lack? I can’t speak for the vast majority since I’m just learning the better way myself. But I can share with you some of the lessons I’m putting into practice.

Years ago, there was an individual who “rubbed” me the wrong way. Whether deliberate or not, I can’t say. But she stung like a bee to the point of my leaving in a state of bewilderment and tears every time I was around her. As much as I may have wanted to totally avoid her, that was not an option, so I managed to schedule our encounters as far apart as possible. I prayed for hours, if not days, prior to the necessary meetings. Yet I still found myself incredibly hurt by her words.

I distinctly remember going to the altar one night at church, pleading with God to show me away to forgive her and reconcile our relationship. In the months to come, this is what He showed me:

1)      Do NOT tell everyone you see about the offenses. This only fans the flames, burning the hurt deeper into your spirit. If you must talk to someone other than God about the situation, choice one or at the most two friends who are impartial and godly, willing to listen, but not necessarily take your side in the matter. Again—DO NOT fan the flames by telling more than two people. The point here is the less you rehearse the incident in your mind, the quicker you will forget it.

2)      Do NOT dwell on it by allowing it to play over and over in your mind like a broken record. This is a tough command, but doable. It takes a lot of practice. Recite scripture, praise God, play music with lyrics you enjoy singing, paint a picture, write a poem…do something to swing your thoughts in a different direction.

3)      DO think of something nice to say about the offender, especially after you just vented about the offense. This was a biggy for me. It took a great deal of effort to think of something nice to say about someone who had (whom I had allowed to) put me in an emotional vice. But each time I did, it became easier to see her good qualities.

4)      DO praise God for the situation. What? That’s right. Praise God for the situation. He is using it to create a Christlike image in you and possibly make a way for you to testify to the other person. We can be glad and rejoice it that for sure.

As I practiced these things, my relationship with this person improved. I can now say with a true heart that I love her, she’s a wonderful person, and we are best of friends. God is so good always, all ways.

How about you? What relationship would you like to see God change? What steps are you willing to take to make those changes possible?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Part 9

Called to Forgive

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32 NIV)

for webForgiveness is a necessary action that contributes to our health and wellbeing, one we need to give as well as receive, one that must be learned and practiced regularly. But is it really possible to forgive each other in the same manner that God, through Christ, forgave us?

Knowing that God never commands us to do what is humanly impossible I struggle with this forgiveness precept. How can I let go of the offense and release the offender when the scars, some years old—still tender and sore, are there to remind me?

I’ve heard the saying that if we haven’t forgotten, we haven’t forgiven. I don’t agree with that adage. The Bible says God forgives our sins and remembers them no more. Yet, He has not given us the ability to forget completely. He has good reason for that. If we were to forget our trials and pain caused by offenses, we’d grow indifferent to the struggles of those around us. Indifference is not one of Jesus’ characteristics and is, therefore, not one God desires for us. His intention is always to cultivate compassion and empathy in us. That is the purpose of giving us memories.

However, memories cause me to relive the offense that God delivered me from. But the enemy desires to rekindle the flame. So I struggle with the inability to forget the hurt and with the desire to forgive as God has forgiven me. There are several things I’m learning to do to disengage myself from the enemy’s strategy to cause me more harm and to damage my testimony.

1)      I give myself permission to feel the pain. Denying it would only allow it to fester.

2)      I accept that an offense has occurred. Bad things happen to everyone.

3)      I choose to forgive in the name of Jesus Christ. I can’t do it in and of myself. I need His help and His strength.

4)      I choose to move on. For me, this is the most difficult part of the process. I force myself to focuse on other things…better things…blessings that God has given me even through the offense. Prayer, reciting Bible verses, painting, writing—whatever it takes to redirect my thoughts from the negative to the positive—that’s what I do.

As I said, I’m learning a lot about forgiveness. Even though I have forgiven the offender, I still carry the scars. And it’s okay. They’re healing.

How about you? What steps do you take to enable yourself to forgive as God forgives?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Part 8

Cause and Effect

 Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17 AMP)

Perhaps the most valuable lesson we can teach our children is the common law of physics: for every action, there is a reaction; for every cause, there is an effect; for every deed, there is a consequence.

I’m trying to come up with a few examples to share. But everyone of them has an exception. For instance, if you turn the key in your car’s ignition the motor will start—unless the battery is dead. If you throw a hard ball at a window, the window will break—unless the window is made of Plexiglas. If you flip the light switch to on, you’ll have light—unless the light bulb blows. So another law accompanies the first: expect the unexpected; there are exceptions to all laws; we can’t always predict the outcome of our actions.

Although the majority of actions in this world have a variety of possible reactions, some things always produce the expected results. Set your hand on a hot iron, it will burn you. Step in water, you will get wet. Accept Jesus Christ as the messiah, the Son of God, the Savior of your soul, you will become a new creature. You will hunger for His word. You will love His followers as your brethren. You will long to be in His presence, to fellowship with Him, and to dwell with Him eternally. You will have a desire to witness to others. You will hate sin.

 

How about you: What changes have occurred in your life since you acknowledged Jesus Christ as your Savior?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Soul Detox Thought for Today:

Like our physical bodies, our souls crave spiritual food. We can choose healthy nourishment through devoting time to Bible study and prayer. Or we can choose to feast on junk. But be sure one way or the other our souls will be fed today.

Part 7

The Unruly Tongue

When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. (James 3:3,7,8 NIV)

5x7 PersnicketyAt a fast food restaurant several years ago, an African-American man stood patiently in line in front of my mother and me.

“Look how black that man is.” An observation that didn’t need to be announced by my mother, especially within earshot of the man. I was horrified.

He peered at us with a distasteful glare. Did I mention he could have been one of Goliath’s descendants? He was huge.

I looked him in the eye, shrugged, and with a sheepish smile, mouthed, “she’s old.”

The gentleman smiled back and proceeded with his order.

Since then, my mother has made similar comments about people who are overweight, people with oddly colored hair, body piercings, tattoos, and anyone else she finds peculiar.

This woman taught me to “bridle my tongue.” There are certain things that you just don’t say behind someone’s back let alone to his/her face…or in my mother’s case, within hearing range. I mean she hammered it into us kids as we were growing up. She threatened us with soap and hot peppers should we offend or verbalize our observations.

At what point did the rules change? Why do we think we have the right to unleash our tongues as we reach the golden years?

I’m not being critical. I’m just asking. You see I occasionally find myself uttering words that shock me. It’s almost like having an out-of-the-body experience. My mind is saying, “Stop! Don’t say that! You’re being stupid, rude, and downright disrespectful.” But like a wild mustang, my tongue takes off on a bombast—unstoppable as though it has a mind of its own, very stubborn and very defiant.

The heat of the moment catches all of us off guard from time to time. The gate is left open. The untamable stallion called Tongue breaks out, spitting and sputtering remarks that never should be thought let alone said. We truly have trouble controlling it. If it’s not telling off-colored jokes, it’s boasting about our intentions. If it’s not finding fault with a politician, it’s bragging about our own accomplishments.

We need a tongue whisperer. We need the guidance of the Holy Spirit to take the reins of our thoughts and our tongue.

How about you? When was the last time your tongue ran rampant? Who holds the reins?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Part 6

Focus

 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy,your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:22-23 NIV)

Eyes 2Eyes are an amazing instrument. They capture objects and identify them as shapes and colors. Not only that, they are the windows to the body or so I’ve been told. An optometrist once told me that a doctor can tell if something’s wrong with other parts of our bodies by simply looking into our eyes with a small light.

Eyes are also the gateway to the soul. What we focus on either illuminates our minds and spirits or darkens them.

Watching movies that concentrate on black magic, vampires, and gore pollute the mind as does playing demonically based video games. Even cartoons pertaining to monsters, witches, and ghosts influence our thinking whether we want to admit it or not. We become a product of what we allow into our minds. A thirty-second commercial with sexual innuendoes implant impure thoughts within our minds. Each activity takes its toll and blotches our souls like spilt Indigo ink soils white paper. The more we entertain such practices the darker out thoughts become.

On the other hand, we can reverse the effect by concentrating on the Light of the world. When we meditate (purposely think about) Jesus Christ—His sacrifice, His mercy, and His never-ending love—His light cleanses our souls. If we focus on good and not on evil, our entire being is illuminated and like Jesus, no darkness will be found in us. Watching wholesome movies and playing games that teach morals form light-producing thoughts in our minds.

Another interesting feature of the human eye is: it cannot focus on two objects at the same time. We see things around the object, but our main focus targets ONE point and sends messages to the brain pertaining to that particular item while gathering information about its surroundings.

Similarly, our spiritual eyes absorb either Light or darkness.

Eyes with Images 2How about you? What are you focusing on today?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Soul Detox Thought for Today:

You have a right to set boundaries in relationships. If someone has a tendency to draw you away from Christ, simply tell them you cherish your relationship with them. But you wouldn’t go there.

Part 5

Toxic Actions

“What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” (Matthew 15:11 NIV)

cup in hand 3 WebLast weekend, Applebee’s Restaurant suffered a social network meltdown by firing a server that posted on the internet a comment from an Applebee’s guest. This guest wrote on her receipt something about paying God 10% why did the wait staff deserve 18% gratuities. A restaurant social network manager took it upon him/herself to combat all the negative correspondences in an inappropriate manner, and the rest is history.

I’m not debating those issues. Things like that happen every day.

I’m questioning the Christian ethics of the guest (a minister) who felt it necessary to object to a common rule of dining at a finer restaurant. If the server had been rude or unaccommodating, that should have been discussed with the manager in a private conversation. But nothing was mentioned about such a scenario. The server did NOT ask for 18% of the guest’s income, thereby, being comparable to what God requests. Nor did she ask for 18% of the total bill. The restaurant did that as most have done years ago to ensure their employees receive gratuity for the service and patience it takes when waiting on tables of eight or more guests.

The guest in question had the right to express her opinion about the automatic gratuity charges even if she chose to do so in a distasteful manner. I believe we all have the right to our own opinions as well as the right to express our opinions. However as Christians, we live by higher standards and the name we shame is NOT our own.

If this guest had been anyone else other than a Christian, the only one with “egg on her face” would have been that individual. But it was a Christian. And in being so arrogant, the minister smeared egg in our Master’s face along with her own. She contributed to the unpleasant taste in mouths of many unbelievers that use incidences like this as their reason to stay away from Christians and ultimately Jesus.

We all have the potential to be toxic to unbelievers instead of the “fresh” water that brings forth life in Christ, which we are called to be. Our actions, as well as our words, contain a healing balm or poisonous venom. We need to be mindful of which component we are applying to those around us.

How about you? What can you do to spread the healing balm of Christ in your circle of acquaintances?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Soul Detox Thought for Today:

Our relationship with Jesus can go in one of two directions–toward Him or away from Him. Our relationships with other people will take us in one of those directions. Where are your closest relationships leading you?

Soul Detox Thought for the Day:

You don’t think TV influences you or desensitizes your spirit to accept sin? Try not watching it for ONE week and see if your eyes aren’t opened to some sins of the flesh that you have previously ignored. Let me know the results.

Part 4

Robbing God

 Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:22-25 NIV)

Church 4 web I’m writing this post partly out of a guilty conscience. I skipped church today. Yesterday, I coughed myself silly due to bronchitis. Being painfully aware of how people cringe at “coughers” in fear of catching germs, I decided going to church would not be productive for me or for those around me. Today, I’m not coughing as frequently or as hard, therefore a tinge of guilt has crept into my soul.

All is not lost. I thought. I can ease the guilt by reading my devotion on Soul Detox and writing a brief reminder on Face Book to spend time with God. Then I’ll spend the rest of the morning in communion with God.

I read the scripture, thought of a reminder, and sailed the Cyber Sea to my Face Book page. However upon arrival, my eye caught a post about a certain restaurant franchise that committed social media suicide overnight. Curiosity (the most bald-face monster lurking in the Cyber Sea) lured me to the article and kept me there until I read the entire report and some of the comments.

In an hour’s time, that tinge of guilt had grown into a nagging irritant as disruptive as the cough I’ve been struggling with for the past twelve days.

Why? You ask. Was it wrong to read that article?

No. The article was clean and relevant to today’s issues. I might even blog about it tomorrow. But the point is this: I committed the two hours I would’ve spent in church this morning to the Lord…to ponder His word, to speak to Him, and to listen for His voice. Reading that article robbed God of my time and me of His presence. I take commitments like that very seriously.

So does God. He wants our undivided attention when we promise it to Him. He doesn’t demand a lot of time. He knows our lives are governed by this element. He created it. Furthermore, He understands the necessities of life—earning a living, family time, meals, and the myriad of other time-eating details that arise throughout our days.

He, also, is aware of the meaningless tasks we undertake that consume the time we should have spent with Him.

How about you? What robs God of your time and you of His presence?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Soul Detox Thought for the Day:

Some say we are what we eat. But a greater truth is we are what we see and hear…books we read, movies and videos we watch, games we play, music we listen to all take root in our minds and thereby become a living part of us. These components influence our thoughts, which in turn determine our actions. Oh be careful little eyes and ears…

Part 3

Follow the Leader

 Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]. (Romans 12:2 AMP)

Follow 4 webFollow the Leader, a simple childhood learning game, creates havoc in Christians’ lives when we apply the same principles to everyday life.

As adult, mature Christians, we should not follow the standard. We should set the standard. The only One worthy to be followed and imitated is Jesus Christ. However when we were babes in Christ, we needed examples of godly men and women to mimic.

The Apostle Paul encouraged his readers to follow his ways (1 Corinthians 11:1). It sounds almost boastful. But Paul had confidence that he followed Christ so closely that his readers would do well to duplicate his behavior and practices.

I’m not quite there yet. I make plenty of mistakes along the way. Doubts assail. My faith buckles. My prayers trickle like water through a clogged drain. Praises come to a screeching halt. And the last thing I want is to have someone follow in my footsteps.

Nevertheless, people watch and follow. My daughters, for example, say they want to be good mom’s like me. And they’re thankful that I lived a christlike life as an example for them to…yes, follow. I shudder at the thought and pray that they are better, stronger Christians than I am.

Still, there are others watching and following. Perhaps some of which I’m not even aware. It’s almost paralyzing.

Whether we like it or not, we adult, mature Christians have a responsibility to those around us to live a life so close to Christ that others can follow. That’s precisely why we need to take time to allow the Holy Spirit to examine our motives, our thoughts, and our daily activities. We need to listen closely to His voice as He proceeds with our soul detox and rid ourselves of those things, which the world says is good, but pollute our spirits.

How about you? What is the Holy Spirit asking you to take a closer look at?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Soul Detox Thought for Today:

Replace your “What Ifs” with “Let’s Praise.” We aren’t programmed to do two things at once. While we focus on praise, we can’t focus on what ifs.

 

 

Part 2

Toxic Thoughts Germinate Negative Attitudes

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life]. (Proverbs 18:21 AMP)

Little Girl 2 with Bear Behind 4 webThere comes a time in many children’s lives when their comeback for any event that displeases them is: I hate you. My younger daughter Rachel twisted the phrase a bit. Every time I said no to her, she spewed, “I know you hate me.”

There are several ways a mother can react to such behavior. Some might agree with a casual, “That’s right. Now do as I say.” Some might be offended and use angry words of retaliation. Others might be hurt that their darlings would even think such thoughts and not know what to do.

Me? I made Rachel sit on the couch, look me square in the eye, and speak the truth. “Mommy, I know you love me. And I love you too.” At first, she said it in a gruff tone with arms folded and lips pursed in contempt. But I didn’t allow her to get off the couch until she said like she meant it. Nor did I give up. Every time she spoke those toxic words, I repeated the procedure. It didn’t take long until she was giggling when she said it. We detoxed her thoughts and her words in the matter of a few days.

What would’ve happened had I ignored the statement? She may have given up on her own. But those words would have taken root in her mind and played havoc with her perhaps for the rest of her life. The point is had she continued to speak those venomous words, she would have eventually believed that I hated her. Not only would’ve it affected how she felt toward me, but inevitably, it would’ve turned soar within me. I would have begun to feel that she hated me. Our relationship would have suffered greatly because of a few ill-spoken, childish words.

I am so thankful that God gave me wisdom to handle that situation. Rachel is grown now with children of her own. And we have a beautiful relationship that stems from mutual love and respect.

I knew at the time the dangers of speaking toxic words and was able to nip that potential thorn before it infected us. However, I’m not always so good at it. I entertain poisonous thoughts, whether true or false, without considering the consequences. Occasionally, I even catch myself spurting out words that have been germinated by those thoughts. I hurt others when I speak thoughtlessly. But I do more harm to myself because I can’t detox my soul from venomous thoughts when I’m affirming those thoughts with the spoken word.

I’m working at the root of the problem—my thought process. When unwanted thoughts enter my mind, I search the Bible for related truths, rebuke the thought, and pray.  As I detox my soul, my words will naturally come out cleaner and purer.

How about you? How are you weeding out your thoughts and disposing of the poisonous verity?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

Soul Detox Thought for Today:  

Suffering from anxiety? Fearful about the future? Discontent about your situation? Praise God! WHAT? That’s right, praise God in all things. Learn to speak God’s truth about YOU, the future, and your circumstances. Read HIS WORD. 

Part 1

Ground Moles and Toxic Thoughts

Yet you know me, Lord; you see me and test my thoughts about you. Drag them off like sheep to be butchered! Set them apart for the day of slaughter! (Jeremiah 12:3 NIV)

Mr. Mole

Mr. Mole

Toxic thoughts seem to come in four varieties—fearful, negative, discontent, and critical. Like ground moles dig deep into soil, these types of thoughts burrow deep into our souls forming hollow canals that can cause our faith to collapse. Moles also make way for other large varmints such as weasels to enter the premises. Similarly, toxic thoughts pave the way for larger problems to enter our spiritual life and devour our relationships with family, friends, and even with God.

I’m not sure how well ground moles survive in the light. I know they avoid it and are completely nocturnal. However, toxic thoughts don’t survive when exposed to the light of Christ. They shrivel up and die. Like Jeremiah’s plea, our best defense is to drag our thoughts out, expose them to the day, and allow God to slaughter them for us.

How about you? Where are your thoughts leading you? What else is creeping through those tunnels?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K Hendricks

Soul detox thought for Today:

Put on the helmet of salvation. Carry the sword (the Word of God) in readiness for battle. Take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. This is spiritual warfare! You are in boot camp about to be deployed.

Introduction

Why Detox Your Soul?

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil. (Proverbs 4:23-27 NIV)

Lily 4 webWhile many of us concern ourselves with colon detox, few of us give thought about soul detox. For the next 35 days, I’m participating in a program to do just that—detox my soul. You can find the program at YouVersion.com. I will be posting a couple times a week about my experience. You will have the opportunity to share yours as well. Through mutual support, we can draw closer to God, fill our souls with His word, and replace bad habits with good ones. To ensure that you don’t miss a post, follow my blog via email, NetWorked Blogs, or through your RSS feed.

This week the lessons pertain to the dangers of toxic thoughts. We have all fallen prey to the inner beast that fills our minds with negative, half-truths, which, by the way, have a tendency to evolve into full-blown lies if not dealt with in the light of God’s truth. These toxic thought affect every aspect of our lives. They have to power to control who we are and what we will become.

Nevertheless, we don’t have to feed ourselves these negative remarks. We can stop. We can replace them with God’s thoughts toward us. That’s what this study is all about—detoxing our souls and our minds.

How about you? Have toxic thoughts governed your life and your relationships long enough?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

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3 Comments

3 thoughts on “Soul Detox–God’s Truth

  1. Good post on forgiveness, Brenda. I think you’re right in saying we shouldn’t necessarily forget offenses, just not dwell on them. And you hit the nail on the head in saying we should allow ourselves to accept and feel the pain. It’s real, it happens. Sometimes we want only joy, but we must accept the pain, too. And then it passes, if we let it, and we’re open to the next great emotion. Ah, life!

    • Cindy, thanks for you comment reminding us that the pain passes if we let it. Sometimes that’s the most difficult part of forgiveness. But as you said emotions are great and letting go makes way for more pleasant emotions. 🙂

  2. Thank you Brenda for your inspiring words from the Holy Spirit. You teach us valuable lessons to empower us to reach our potential for God glory in Christ Jesus.

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